Do you feel as though the executor of the estate of a loved one is all of a sudden avoiding you? If so, you may not know the best way to legally and morally handle the situation. The following information will provide you with the best approach to this type of situation.
The best way to initially contact the executor of the estate is by email, telephone or text. You could attempt to use all three to ensure that if the matter has to be escalated, you will have proof of trying to contact them in several ways. Do not use all three soft contact options within the same day, and if you use the same method of contact several times, spread it out over the course of a few days before contacting them again. Keep in mind that they may still be grieving over the death of your loved one. It is also important to give them ample time to respond to your soft contact attempts.
If the executor of the estate does not respond to your soft contact attempts, you should initiate a solid means of contacting them. Certified mail or a visit to their home are examples of solid contact attempts. These are considered verifiable means of contact. Certified mail has to be signed for and the signature is proof that the mail has been received. Visiting the home of the executor may put you in a face-to-face situation with them which is also verifiable. You need to ensure you keep a record of your contact attempts even if you do not actually make contact with the executor. For example, if you visit their home and their car is in the yard but they do not answer their door, you need to write down the date, time and circumstances, such as whether you left a note and whether it appeared that they were home.
Taking this step is serious, and you need to consider whether it could cause serious family issues. If you decide that you want to take the matter back to probate court, ensure that you have made several attempts to contact the executor. The escalation process would involve making a request of the court to enforce an action. For example, if you have concerns that the executor is spending money from the estate, you could petition the court to have them provide proof of what funds have been spent and the what they were used for.
It is also possible to petition the court to remove the current executor or change the executor. If you make this type of request, you will have to have solid reasons for the request. For example, a request to remove an executor due to the executor attempting to liquidate assets and keep the proceeds as profits could be a solid reason.
Legal escalation is a good option if you strongly feel that the executor is purposefully refusing to have contact with you. This is because when they are served court papers, they will have to answer to those. This will put any questions you have to rest.
A probate attorney, such as those at Davis and Mathis, is the best resource to use to ensure that you approach all probate matters in a legal way. They can also assist with filing the appropriate paperwork in court and ensure that petitions made to the court contain verifiable facts.